Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Week Full of Changes

Email sent Monday 25 October 2010

Dear Family,

This week seemed to be so full of changes. Boarders of everything got all changed because of the new ward in our stake. So we are in a new district as missionaries with a new DL and we even got a new sliver of area added to our area so we get to go explore it. We are also now in THREE wards! We have one at 9, 11, and 1. So basically we are in church from 8:30am-4:30pm every Sunday. Church is so long, Sunday is the most tiring day of the week. But it's ok. Change is good. We are excited for these next couple weeks.

We found an awesome new investigator this week named I..... It was meant to be that we find him. Because Tuesday we had an appointment set up with his neighbor who wasn't there, but his dad was sitting outside smoking and we were talking to him and hten I..... came out. We were talking about our beliefs and stuff and his dad said, "Well looks like I need to change religions." It was funny. So we set up an appointment for THursday. THen we went and knocked a couple more doors and then went across to this other building where we had another appointment and guess who answered the door? I...... THis was his sisters apartment. We were meant to find him. Also on Wednesday, we had an apointment below him, and he happened to be outside then too, so we decided to go up and teach him then. And we set a BD. He basically set it himself. He really wants to change his life. He had had a cigarette when we first got there, but he had put it out and he had this box in his pocket, and he had told us how he smokes a pack a day. And somewhere in the lesson he turns to me really sincerely and says, "Can I ask you to do something for me?" I said, "ya sure." He pulled out the box of cigarettes and said, "Can you take these from me?" It was awesome! We hadn't even taught him anything about it. He just knew that that would come with changing his life around. So I was then in possession of cigarrettes. :) I have never touched a box of cigarettes before that day. But it was a very happy thing for me to do! He hasn't smoked them since. But, we have also since found out that cigarettes are not the real big problem. He is extremely physically addicted to marijuana. He has real sincere desires to change, but this is an addiction that is 10 years strong and a daily habit. He is 18 years old and has been on drugs since he was 8. Welcome to the valley. When I was 8 I did not even know what drugs were. Last time he tried to quit for 3 months and he was violently ill every day, so he just went back to it. We know that this time as he tries to kick this addiction with God on his side it will be possible, but it will take miracles. But we believe it can happen.

Monday we experienced the most horrible thing ever. We were driving and we saw, right in front of us by the car coming the other direction, a dog get hit and killed by a car. Because we are in Texas and it is flat the light of the horizon could be seen under the car and between the tires so we had a very clear view of the dog getting hit and bouncing under both sets of tires. I don't want to be too gruesome, but we then saw it suffer and die in the middle of the road. At which point I stopped my car (yes in the middle of the road) and got out and had to pick the poor dead dog up off the road and move him to the side. It was the grossest sadest thing I have ever done. We were both crying and the car that hit them, the wife was crying and all these people in cars behind us were troubled too. That whole rest of the night we could not get the images out of our heads. It was horrible. But we decided, it's ok. THe dog is in doggy heaven and he is happy now. Everything is ok.

On a happier note, we think we will have a miracle baptism this Sunday of this 9 year old we met yesterday in Church who is from a member family, but he just never got baptized. They are active and everything, but they just never got him baptized. So we'll teach him on Wednesday and then hopefully he will get baptized Sunday! Which is awesome because our misison has this legit goal for October baptisms of 105 and it will take miracles to reach it, so this will be one of them.

I realized this week how much more things I need to work on to be a good missionary. The sisters we live with are having a rough time right now. The one that just got transfered here is the Senior Companion...and she came out with me. In other words this is her 3rd transfer. And the other one has only been here 1 transfer. They are both super young and didn't get trained very well it seems, because sister Morrill and I have been having to help them get a handle on everything. I am so grateful that I had a good trainer and a good comp right now.

Anyway, I'm glad Quinton's headaches are going down and everything is busy and good at home. I love you tons and don't go too crazy on Halloween!


Sister Petersen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Email sent Monday 18 October 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! Aren't you lucky I get to write you this ON your birthday! haha, hope it's going to be a fun monday for you.

This week was alright. Nothing super crazy..well sort of, it could've been, there were lots of changes taking place here but none of them really ended up involving Sister Morrill and I. So transfers are tomorrow...and we found out on Saturday what was happening. We really thought that we could be changing, but we didn't want to because we get along really well (she is awesome) and we want to see our people progress here. But luckily the changes did not involve us. One sister area had to close because 3 sisters are leaving and only 2 are coming in. We thought that one of us could be training, but we're not. President Trayner likes to make really young missionaries train. A girl that came in one transfer before me is a trainer for her second time. (Granted she already spoke spanish) But ya, so Sister Morrill and I are still here. But the other big change came yesterday at church. For church in our spanish ward we had 3 wards meet together for the big announcement. In our stake there were 4 english wards and 4 spanish wards that cover the same area. But yesterday they got us all together and announced the changes and the creation of a 5th spanish ward in our stake!!! Wow! So they had to re-align the boundaries and some of our members will be in the new ward and it was all sad, but happy that there are now enough members to create another ward here!!! So they had to call new bishops and stuff and that guy that gave me the blessing last week was called to be the bishop of the Hidalgo ward. Cool huh. We think his prompting to give me the blessing was sort of the lord testing him to help him learn and follow the spirit to prepare him for this new calling that he has. Cool huh!?

Ok so those were the changes, now about what actually happened this week. On Tuesday, Sister Morrill and I had organized this activity to do for mutual with all the Young Men and Women in our Spanish ward. It went awesome. We had 2 Elders come too, and we did this funny knocking doors roll play. The youth thought it was hilarious, little do they know that is what our life is really like. :) But then we helped them make plans and practice sharing the gospel or inviting their friends to church or mutual or something. We think it is really going to help the work progress here, because the youth are the strongest members in my opinion. The youth here in Texas are AWESOME!!! Way more awesome than youth in Utah. Like no one goes to mutual in Utah, which is partially because of the school systems (and sports teams) and how they can't have their whole teams missing on tuesday and wednesday night, but the youth here work it out with their coaches and teachers. They say they have to go to church and that the schools have to respect the students religion and so they all come to mutual, and are awesome. Anyway, sorry, youth are just awesome here.

We ate dinner with the bishop's family in our spanish ward this week. They are so awesome. The bishop is a funny guy, it's different to see people in their homes and not in his suit up on the stand. He was humming and dancing around in his kitchen. I love them! Their kids are awesome too, their son is thinking about going to UVU or BYU. That would be so cool.

On Saturday I went on an exchange with Sister Ruano(who we live with, who just got here 5 weeks ago). Her and I went in her area for the day. It was a really good expereince for me I think. I got to be the "old one" so it was kinda wierd to see if I could actually do this whole being a missionary thing sorta by myself. And I realized that I can do more than I thought I could. Sister Ruano already spoke spanish, but she's still super new and sorta shy - as am I - but I had to step up and take the lead instead of just letting my trainer or senior comp. do it. We had an awesome day. We taught a ton of lessons and found 6 new investigators. And hugged a 17 year old boy----that part was funny...don't worry, we won't ever see him again, and it was totally Sister Ruano's fault. And also a guy tried to give us money. It was a good day.

So we will start another transfer together. Here we come Texas.

I love you all.


Sister Petersen

Monday, October 11, 2010


Email sent Monday 11 October 2010

We had some many complications with some investigators this week. Y....., our investigator who came to conference last week, is going through something really hard right now. We talked on Wednesday or so. She wouldn't tell us more, but she said she couldn't live in her apartment anymore and is now at her mom's house but can't meet with us there. So we are praying for her that something can be worked out and we can find a way to keep teaching her and that she can find a place to live.

Also C......... We had this big fast this weekend with him and we promised him he would get an answer. But after we finished it when we went over he still said he didn't feel anything. We really don't know what to do with him. He is a "progressing investigator" by the numbers but he's really not progressing to baptism. We want to help him so bad, but everything we try doesn't seem to work. He is keeping all of his commitments. He reads, prays, fasts, stopped drinking, smoking, started exercising only because we mentioned the word of wisdom being the Lord's plan of health, comes to church, really thinks about the questions we leave him to think about. He is doing everything...except one thing, he says he can't leave his friends behind. And he has some pretty bad friends. He says he knows that baptism is what God wants for him but he is not ready because he doesn't want to just take it lightly, he wants to be sure that he won't mess up afterwards. We decided that he needs a week break from us and so we started that last night and I guess we will see if anything changes by Saturday. Sister Morrill says he's the hardest investigator she's ever had. It was so hard to tell him we couldn't come by for a week. Tears were almost shed. Someday...he will be ready.

On the up note, we found 9 new investigators this week and we are really excited to teach them and see how they can progess. The S....... family is AWESOME!!! S..... had a surgery this week and they were really struggling financially and they didn't know if they would have money to pay tithing and for the medications he needed, but they decided not to dip into the tithing fund and his medicare randomly ended up covering the medication that it should not have covered. MIRACLE! Also, he met this guy somewhere and somehow the guy found out that he was mormon and told him he wanted to come visit him sometime and so S..... said of course. The guy came over on Saturday night and was apparently going off on them about how Mormons are a cult and showing them all this anti stuff and just bringing up every anti arguement possible. V..... said she got really offended, and just told him she was never going to believe him because he is saying he is all christian but he never once showed them any love, he just came into there house and tried to start tearing down their faith, and S.... just sat there calmly and told him that the reason he became LDS is because he prayed and knows for himself that it is true. After the guy left S..... and V..... asked each other if that guy had given them any doubts about their faith, and they both said "No way." They both came to church yesterday just as happy as can be. S..... kept saying, "I love my church." THEY ARE SO AWESOME!

Also we knocked into the FedEx guy that delivers to the mission office. He said that we (the missionaries) keep them in business.

We may or may not have almost been eaten by a rattlesnake on Saturday. We were crossing this sketchy field and it sure sounded like there was one nearby, but we ran and we are still alive, rattlesnake bite-less. But we do have TONS of ant bites and probably spider bites. Our legs are always covered.

Saturdays from 11-4 are now bike/walk days. So we were out and about walking far so that we can be seen and people will now of our presence here in South Texas.

Brandy, I loved your pictures. You are such a senior. Looks fun.

Dad, sorry fishing wasn't that good, but I'm sure it was fun anyway. You better carve some good pumpkins without me this year.

Mom, thanks for always writing me, (I know dad "helps"). P.S. happy birthday coming up!!! How old are you going to be? I hope you do something fun!

That's all for this week. Hope you all (friends, family, wardies) are doing really well and that you send me more letters... and maybe a package would be fun too. Thanks. Just kidding...but really. :)

I love you all.

Hermana Melinda Petersen

Monday, October 4, 2010

General Conference Weekend

Email sent Monday 4 September 2010

HI, breaking news from Texas...this week we experienced a "Cold front." Actually it was AMAZING!!! It hasn't been humid since last monday. Last monday was actually the coolest day. I can't feel the humidity at all, and that is the best part. But also Monday through Wednesday were really nice temperatures. In the morning when we went running it was low 60's and it only got up to upper 80's. After wednesday it's been back up to 95, but it still feels great because it is not humid. I love it. Those first few days it felt like we were back in Utah in the mountains or something. It was awesome!

Ge... speaks English. So we teach her in English. Basically all youth here speak English. They might speak spanish too because that's all that their parents speak, but the youth would always rather speak English. So we teach in whatever they feel more comfortable in. And since basically all of my investigators right now are troubled youth, we teach in English. But actually this week we were able to find a couple of Spanish investigators so that was really good. My spanish needs some work. It's just so hard because we are with english speakers so often. We actually had a spanish investigator at one of the sessions of conference yesterday so I had to watch it in Spanish. It was hard to follow and other than that the prophet talked about gratitude, I don't really know what he said. Just kidding, I understood more than that, but really I need to watch it again in English so I can really get it.

So ya, for conference they broadcasted it in the church. The chapel was in Spanish, and all of the other rooms were in English. So we just watched it all there. Most people watched it on BYUTV at home.

We had zone conference and interviews with the president this week. It was really good. Our new mission focus is on getting members to do their part in the work. Basically I've realized since coming out here that members don't understand that they should really be the source of investigators. Missionaries should just teach. But nobody gets it. I know I didn't get it when I was at home. But ya, so we will be focusing on helping members have confidence and be prepared to share the gospel with their friends and neighbors.

The mosquitos were really bad a couple of nights this week. We had gone out into the boonies of our area late one night, from like 7-9pm and it was pretty dark out there, and the mosquitos were like swarming us. We had run to the car for safety but then we turned the lights on in the car and realized that some mosquitos had gotten in and so we were smashing them with pass-along cards. It would have been a really funny sight for anyone watching us. My legs are also covered in these bites. I'm pretty sure they aren't mosiquito bites though cuz they itch me and mosquito bites don't itch me. I think thy are ants. They are super annoying. We sit on the ground too much I think.

So really this week was very interesting. It was sad in that we had to stop going by two of our investigators with baptismal dates. It's really sad. Actually one of them, we um...caught alone in his parents house with his girlfriend. It was really awkward the next day when we had to teach him. But we were already planning a "you need to make a decision, get off the fence, do something" lesson with him so that he could either progress or not, so we did that, and it went really well considering the situation. He has some soul searching to do and hopefully he'll come back around in a week or two.

We have found the most random array of messed up people the past four weeks. The valley here is a horrible place to raise a child in my opinion. Satan is working hard on the youth here. And yet, the youth in the church are the strongest youth I have ever met in my life. So who knows.

So basically, this week was crazy. Conference was great though!!! I hope you all watched all of it, or if you missed a session for the race, make sure you watch it in the next week. All of the talks are online already so you all need to watch them. And when the conference ensign comes out next month, read them like President Monson said. Also, there is a story in the Sept. ensign that you all should read about Preach My Gospel. Read it and apply it. Missionary work is everyone's work and PMG is more than just a guide for missionaries.

Dad, I hope you liked the fishing analogy in conference. I thought it would interest you. I hope you didn't fall asleep. :)

Also, you hope I didn't see the BYU Utah state game...actually I sorta did. A member took us out to eat and...it was on the TV and I may have glanced at the score now and again. It was not good. 17-3 when we left. Bingham should challenge them to a game.

Ok, well that's all for now. I love you, keep me updated on Quinton. Tell Ali to send me a stinkin letter if she misses me. :)


Sister Melinda Petersen